When I was a young Christian, I wore a button with the letters PBPGINFWMY on it. The letters stood for the phrase, “Please be patient; God is not finished with me yet.” Paul’s message in this section of Romans is slightly different, more like: “Please be patient; God is not finished with Israel yet.”
Everything that Paul has said in chapters 9–11 is meant to answer the question Paul voices in verse 1: “Did God reject his people?” The apostle’s answer is an emphatic No! The fact that God will accept Gentiles by faith in Christ does not mean that He is done with Israel. Paul’s conversion was proof that God had not rejected His people. The apostle testifies that he is an Israelite and a descendant of Abraham from the tribe of Benjamin (v. 1).
Just as the Lord had reserved those for Himself who refused to bow the knee to Baal in Elijah’s day, there was “a remnant chosen by grace” (v. 5). The faithfulness of those who refused to worship idols in Elijah’s day was evidence of God’s grace. God did not choose them because they were faithful or “based on works”; they were able to be faithful because of God. It is God who is the author of salvation (vv. 5–6).
Although many Israelites rejected Jesus as their Messiah, Paul did not lose hope. He saw God’s acceptance of the Gentiles by grace as part of a larger strategy to save Israel (v. 14). We can draw two important lessons from God’s mysterious plan for Israel. First, Gentile believers have no grounds for feeling superior. God is not finished with His people Israel! Second, there is always hope for those who seem to have no interest in Christ.
>> Today, take time to ask God in prayer for the salvation of someone you know who has rejected Christ. And, as you pray for your friends and family members to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, also pray for the salvation of Israel.